Bloustein alumnus explains use, choice of pedestrian calming techniques

March 14, 2016

Non-motorized transportation has been expanding in New Brunswick. Recently, the Bloustein School hosted a workshop on pedestrian calming techniques. Almost twenty graduate and undergraduate students attended a session on pedestrian calming techniques led by Bloustein alumnus Merisa Gilman; she currently works as a project manager for the New York City Department of Transportation Pedestrian Projects Group.

Ms. Gilman described how The Pedestrian Projects Group takes on a variety of different projects throughout the year. The projects are often smaller projects that are culled from community requests and recommendations. Almost all of their projects begin as quickly applied thermoplastic paint, sometimes with flexible bollards and planters. Successful projects may become capital projects that turn these temporary measures into permanent concrete installations. If there are sponsoring organizations, such as community groups, that can maintain these spaces, often the Pedestrian Projects Group will add chairs, plants, and other amenities to the spaces.

After explaining how her group chooses and approaches these projects the event turned to an analysis of specific projects the Pedestrian Projects Group has recently worked on. This included the expansion of the pedestrian area at Union Square, along Washington Street in Brooklyn, and the installation of New York City’s first roundabout at Intervale Avenue and Dawson Street in the Bronx.

The final hour of the presentation was dedicated to New Brunswick. After soliciting suggestions from students, Ms. Gilman chose four intersections in New Brunswick that had similar issues to streets her group worked on in New York City. The intersections at Easton Avenue and Stone Street, Easton Avenue and Albany Street, French Street and Suydam Street, and French Street, Jersey Avenue, and Handy Street all came under the microscope of the students. Using a variety of techniques that they had studies and Ms. Gilman had discussed the students came considered traffic volumes and flow while considering new crosswalks, signage, bulb-outs, and intersection controls.

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